Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

Inner Circle, London, NW1 4NR

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Location

The Open Air Theatre enjoys a unique location within London, situated as it is in the great outdoors of the famous Regent’s Park. The park is centrally located near Baker Street and Marylebone stations, and contains a range of other attractions including playgrounds, a boating lake and London Zoo. There is a bar and barbecue within the park, and visitors are also welcome to bring their own food and drink with them.
Getting there
By Tube: The nearest station is Baker Street on the Metropolitan, Circle, Hammersmith & City, Bakerloo and Jubilee lines.By bus: Numbers 13, 18, 27, 30, 74, 82, 113, 139, 189 and 274 all stop near Baker Street station.By taxi or car: Taxis can drop visitors off near the Inner Circle, and parking on the Inner Circle operates on a pay and display system prior to 6.30pm and is free afterwards.

Seating

The idea of an open air theatre in the middle of Regent’s Park begin in the early 1900s, with a number of successfully recorded productions in the 1930s. The stage we know today opened in 1962, housing productions by the New Shakespeare Company. In 1976 the auditorium was renovated in a stadium style with added hospitality facilities. The award winning production company now produces three main stage shows each summer, usually a musical, a classic play and a Shakespeare revival, as well as a number of plays for children.

The auditorium is built into a hill, giving a genuine amphitheatre style seating. The seats fan out around the stage and are divided into a front Stalls section and a higher Circle section. Seats in all sections are unobstructed, but are generally better the closer to the action they are. Seats towards the back can seem very far from the stage, although they do provide excellent panoramic views over the whole stage. The back row is often the cheapest, and is protected from the rain slightly due to the back wall. The front central section is an excellent place to sit to see the show up close, although for musicals can feel a little overwhelming. Regent's Park Open Air Theatre
Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

Accessibility

The Open Air Regent’s Park theatre is markedly different from other theatre venues, with amphitheatre-style seating built into the side of a hill. Disabled access into the theatre is via the exit gate, which staff will be able to escort you through. There are 18 shallow steps to the front of the Stalls. Disabled users will always be charged the lowest price band for their seat no matter whereabouts it is in the auditorium, but for shows where there is only one ticket price no concessions are available.

Spaces for wheelchair users and their companions are available within the auditorium and must be booked in advance with the Box Office, who can best assess where to seat wheelchair users depending upon their specific needs. There are 8 scooter or wheelchair spaces in total, with 4 on either side of the Stalls. Adapted toilets are located close to the wheelchair spaces, and the bar is accessible via a gentle slope although drinks can be brought to patrons in their seats if required.

There is an FM assisted listening system available within the theatre, with handsets provided for a returnable deposit of £5. Captioned performances are also scheduled into each run. Guide dogs are welcome within the auditorium and can be looked after during the show if necessary.Access bookings telephone line 020 7492 9930 or access booking form

History

Created in 1932 by Sydney Carroll and Robert Atkins, the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is a unique venture in London that is open for 16 weeks during the summer, showcasing outdoor productions of both classic and new plays in the inner circle of Regent’s Park. The theatre operates as a charity and is situated in Queen Mary’s Gardens, seating 1200 people per performance and with a bar, barbecue and picnic area open prior to and throughout each show. The theatre is entirely open to the elements and relies upon the changeable British weather to go ahead.

For 25 years Ian Talbot acted as the Artistic Director for the company, before leaving in 2007. His final season as director saw a host of enjoyable productions including Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Fantastic Mr Fox, before Timothy Sheader took over the post in November 2007. Under Sheader the Open Air Theatre has witnessed productions including several Shakespeare plays, an award-winning revival of the musical Hello Dolly!, Into The Woods, Lord of the Flies and Crazy For You, which has since transferred to the Novello Theatre. The theatre has seen a plethora of stage stars perform during its history, including Benedict Cumberbatch, Vivien Leigh, Jeremy Irons, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes and Sheridan Smith. The 2012 season will showcase productions of the musical Ragtime and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Past shows